Sajid Javid has called for knife crime to be treated ‘like a disease’ as he met with Britain’s top police chiefs to find a way to tackle violent crime.
The Home Secretary said he will do ‘everything I can’ to make sure forces get the resources they need after a spate of fatal teen stabbings prompted debate about police cuts.
Speaking after his meeting with officers from the seven forces most affected by violent crime, he said: ‘I want serious violence to be treated by all parts of government, all parts of the public sector, like a disease.’
The home secretary said he wanted a ‘legal duty’ on government departments to help prevent serious violence as Theresa May announced she would host a summit ‘in the coming days’ to tackle knife crime.
Both police funding and stop-and-search powers were discussed in today’s meeting, Javid said.
‘I think police resources are very important to deal with this,’ he said.
‘We’ve got to do everything we can. I’m absolutely committed to working with the police in doing this.
‘We have to listen to them when they talk about resources.’
He added: ‘At a time like this to build more confidence to bear down on serious violence.’
Chairwoman of the National Police Chiefs’ Council Sara Thornton said the discussions had been ‘really constructive’ and ‘highlighted the need for extra police officers’.
‘We’ve agreed that by the end of the week we’ll set out the scale of the investment required,’ she said.
Durham’s Chief Constable, Mike Barton, said he was ‘heartened’ by the meeting while the chief constable of Merseyside Police said the talks were ‘very good’.
The deaths of 17-year-olds Jodie Chesney and Yousef Ghaleb Makki at the hands of knife attackers sparked a heated debate amid claims of a ‘national knife crime emergency’.
Jodie and Yousef were the latest victims in a spate of tragic teen stabbings across the country.
In Birmingham three teenagers – two aged 16 and one 18 – died in the space of 12 days last month.
Senior officers from the Metropolitan Police, Merseyside, Greater Manchester, West Midlands, South Wales, South Yorkshire and West Yorkshire were invited to today’s meeting as the rise in violent crime as fingers are pointed at police officer numbers.
Across England and Wales there are 20,000 fewer police officers on the streets than in 2009.
Ahead of the meeting, spokespeople from a number of police bodies called for funding for more officers.
Metropolitan Police Commissioner Cressida Dick said there was ‘obviously’ a link between violent crime and falling police numbers and the Prime Minister insisted there was ‘no direct correlation’.